It’s early afternoon and I contemplate on how society has changed, the identity of young people particularly young females within the 21st century.

In this busy room I sit and observe the crowd of young females that pass me by within their groups or walking individually from all backgrounds. I ponder and reflect on how I was once a young female facing the society alone, lost, confused and not knowing which direction to turn worrying if I would be accepted by those.

We live in a society today where young females struggle to balance their lives between what is expected of them from society, media, peers yet what is imposed by culture and family. One can sit and state that an individual has a choice in being who they want to be without influence and dictatorship. However where does this choice of having a identity and being your own person stem from. Brings me to think is it the impact of one’s society, individual they associate with or the influence culture and family. Or is it simply growing up and the temptation of media impact from a billboard that is high up in the high street that catches the eye of every young female that walks by?

As every young females struggles with their identity and becoming comfortable in whom they want to be or what people expect her to be, I would like to draw your attention to a topic that interests me identity of young Muslim women within western society. I reflect and contemplate on how quickly the life and identity changes for these individuals from being a young girl to a women who is trying to understand her internal self and the journeys life brings her.

As a Muslim women identity changes as the days pass on. Being a young women in the 21st century is not easy especially being a young Muslim women. It seems that everyone has an opinion to how young Muslim women should be, an individual that is judged on her dress code, garments, attitude and more so her religion simply trying to live day to life to understand herself and her social surrounding. Yet it seems that when these young Muslim women slip up and make mistakes everyone is ready to identify her flaws and mistakes, but yet not taking time to reflect that was we ( women) not once young once? Did we not learn from our mistakes? and become the great women that we are today.

Muslim women are judged on the basis that they are Muslim, but let’s take time out to understand whether it be Muslim, Christian. Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, the young females making the mistakes, struggling to understand life and their role within society are human beings. So when you see her make a mistake don’t say this Muslim women made a mistake, stop and think it’s a human being making a mistake not the religion. Media impact seem to influence our views and perceptions yet individuals fail to understand everyone is human and humans make mistakes regardless of you being a Muslim women.

The afternoon moves on and I stare out of the window and deep inside I worry that there are so many young Muslim girls/women who struggle to be content with themselves as the influence of social, society, peers and culture family takes a toil on them. It is easy for anyone to sit and say be confident and be who you want to be don’t be the sheep be the Sheppard. How can these young Muslim women move forward when they are always going to be identified as Muslim women who are struggling to understand their identify as they try to do what’s right within society, community and morally right by their religion. Now the key aspect is finding the balance between the two, which may take days, months, years.

But for those of you reading this hear me when I say believe me this time will pass, you will find yourself and when you do you will confident and will understand your role in society as a young Muslim women.

Do not let anyone dictate to you, take time to explore your identity, educate yourself, gain knowledge, share your feelings and worried as they will help you understand who you are what you want to be. Life is a journey with many high’s and lows, remember when you love and accept yourself others will. Find love and contentment within yourself rather than searching for that identity through the billboards on the high-streets, reality tv shows, facebook and others. Try to understand yourself so when you step outside remember one day you will be confident in being that Muslim women.

I am learning everyday to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be inspire me not terrify me.

Written by Sofia Mahmood 30/06/2014